February 26, 2009 – All Roads Lead to Quartzsite

This morning we made a quick stop at the Yuma Marketplace for a couple of items and then we were on our way to Quartzsite. On our way we noticed how green the desert is becoming and what was really neat was that many areas were just carpeted with purple. (Remember the little purple flowers from yesterday?). It was just beautiful.

We are only staying overnight and then we are on our way to Congress, AZ – an Escapee Park. We are hoping that we are able to get full hookups and will probably stay for a week if we do. In the past 6 weeks we have been in a 100 mile loop in the desert from Quartzsite to Yuma to El Centro to The Slabs to Palm Desert and back again (and 5 of those weeks have been boondocking). It has been wonderful and we will be here again next season. However it is starting to get warm and we are going to start to head north.

So before we leave, I will leave you with some observations:

The Dust – we love the desert but everything is dusty!!

Border Patrol and Inspection Points – I cannot tell you how many times there are road stops for inspections and border patrol inspections. I understand we need to have security but sheesh! Our last night in California, we must have saw the border patrol, both in vehicles and helicopter at least every hour.

The sunsets, the sunrises, the desert floor, the desert mountains, the stars, the cactus (cacti?), the desert flowers, the way the mountains and the desert floor changes with the sunrise and sunset – I cannot say enough on how beautiful it is – we have fallen in love with this area and hope to return every winter.

Elliot just LOVES being outside. When we let him out, he rolls around in the sand!

And of course the pictures. Some are from our travels today and others are our site and of course another great campfire night!

Miles Traveled: 95 miles
Routes Traveled:
CA: CA-186; I-8
AZ: I-8; US-95


February 23 – 25, 2009 – Taking Care of Business

Lots to talk about today.

On Monday (23rd), we left Quartzsite and headed to Andrade which is about 3 miles north of Los Algodones, Mexico. One thing we noticed is that the desert is greening up so spring is coming.

We found a site on the Quechan Indian Lands with a number of other folks and joined them for a campfire tonight.

The stats:

Miles Traveled: 95 miles
Routes Traveled:
AZ: US-95; I-8
CA: I-8; CA-186

On Tuesday (24th), we went early to Los Algodones to see Dr. Roberto Arce of The Smile Shoppe. Andy had a filling that fell out and this dentist had been recommended to us. He did a great job on Andy’s tooth and gave him an estimate for future work that we plan to have done next season (November/December of this year). I also got my hair cut at one of the local beauty saloons and she did a pretty good job. We did do some more walking around and may do more shopping there next season. I would love to buy a number of items here but with the motorhome, there is not much room (and that, my friends, is very freeing – I can’t buy “stuff” because I have no room - :-))

It took us about 2 hours to cross back into the USA because the line was so long. Back across, we visited a number of possible camping sites – Mittrey Lake (which was pretty full) and Pilot Knob/Sidewinder Road 14 Day Free Camping Areas. We thought where we were was free but we were told we need a permit. However, we have not seen any signs to that effect. So we will stay here until our mail comes in or we are told we need a permit. Our plans right now are to stay until our mail comes in and we are hoping that happens on Thursday or Friday at the latest.

I got some bad news today. One of my long time friends, Maureen, was killed in a car accident this morning. My heart is breaking! She has touched so many lives and I have so many good and funny memories of her. Please keep her family in your prayers. We will all miss you, Maureen!

To all of you who read my blog: In the past 6 months, I have lost 5 friends (all under 57 years old). Please tell your friends and family, that you love them and appreciate them because it may be the last time you see them. And to all my friends and family, please know that I love you and you all have touched my life and made me a better person. And even though I am not next to you, please feel my hug!.

On Thursday (25th) we did our errand run to finish up a couple items we needed to do. (Thanks, Tina, for sending our mail.) We were also able to connect with Sandy and Raul (and Dale) for a great get together at the new Casino. The meal was wonderful and I won $90.00. We finished our evening at the campfire with our neighbors.

Some pictures of our campsite:

Some pictures of the new desert flowers:

Tomorrow we head out to our next adventure so stay tuned!


February 21-22, 2009 – New Awning and Enjoying the Desert

Saturday morning found us on our way to town to get a new awning for the RV. It was finished around noon so we decided to just hang out at home. Well, that didn’t happen. When we came back, we opened the awning and there was a rip in it so back to town we went. Needless to say our morning and afternoon was spent watching the guys install awnings. But for now we have a beautiful new awning!!

Our neighbors, Sandra and Linda joined us at the campfire tonight – these women have incredible stories and are such an inspiration. We feel honored for knowing them.

Sunday (today) was hang out day. We spent the day beading (me), reading (Andy), and talking with Sandra and Linda. And we finished the day with another great meal over the campfire.

Tomorrow we are off to our next adventure so stay tuned!


February 20, 2009 – Swansea Ghost Town

Today we decided to go to the Swansea Ghost Town about 25 miles north of Bouse (and 24 of those miles on a dirt road!). The scenery was incredible. It reminded us so much of the old western movies.

The Swansea Valley as we came thru the mountain pass. The road to the valley is on the right and the town is on the valley floor.

This is where we had lunch – look at that view:

The Swansea Townsite was once a copper mining town during the early 1900’s. In its prime, there were over 500 residents and the town included cottages, a hospital, a school, a railroad depot, saloons, etc. as well as the mining operation buildings. What I found interesting is that some of the mine shafts are right among the homes – must have been pretty interesting during operations. Some scenes:

We took a side trip to the pumping station (but didn’t go all the way out) and the road became, well let me put it this way – Andy took over driving.

The wildflowers are now blooming in the desert – how beautiful! (Sorry no pictures – they didn’t come out well.)

We made a stop at the American Legion in Bouse for a few drinks – and met some great people. We decided that we are going to do more of this as we travel. Supper was at the local cafĂ© and we finished the day with a great sunset.

February 19, 2009 – Quartzsite’s Sites

Our first stop this morning was to The Gambler to check out awning replacements. He had what we wanted at a good price so we made an appointment for Saturday.

Our next stop was Celia’s Rainbow Gardens. There is an interesting story behind this. The gardens were first started in 1995, a year after the death of 8 year old Celia Anne Winer (the daughter of Paul Winer – remember the naked bookstore owner), it was part of a dream to help give something back to the community of Quartzsite for all the help they gave to the Winer family during rough times.

Celia was a miracle baby, born after just 5 ½ months and weighing only 1 ¼ pounds in Hamilton, Ontario. She spent the next four months in an incubator and was finally released when she reached 5 pounds. She came to Quartzsite when she was five. She was often called an “old soul” by those who met her and talked for any length of time. Her love of nature and her desire to make a difference were the inspiration for the gardens after her death.

The gardens have grown due to the work of many volunteers and organizations in town. The BLM offices in Yuma donated many of the trees and cacti. Many people adopted areas to remember loved ones.

It is such a beautiful area.

Our next stop was to the Hi-Jolly Monument. The War Department during the mid-1800 experimented with using camels to carry supplies over the desert and they hired Hi Jolly to be the caretaker of the animals. The experiment was stopped and the camels were left to fend for themselves in the areas around Quartzsite. Here is the monument:

Our last stop of the day was to the Tyson Wells Old Stage Station which now houses a number of artifacts and some history of Quartzsite – really interesting.

Back home, we met our neighbors and shared a campfire with them tonight.


February 17-18, 2008 – Quartzsite

On Tuesday (17th) we left the Slabs after our final goodbyes to Mary, Rich, Bob, Susan, and Cookie (See you next season - :-)) and headed to Quartzsite. We took SR-78 through the Dunes, Palo Verde, and Blythe – what a beautiful drive:

We dumped and got fresh water at a really nice city park in Blythe and then unto Quartzsite. More scenes:

We are camped in the Hi-Jolly area – free for 14 days. (I just love this free camping!). Once we set up, we took a look around the other BLM lands and town – wow; it has really emptied out compared to a few weeks ago.

We had supper at the Yacht Club and just relaxed the rest of the evening. The stats for today:

Miles Traveled: 125 miles
Routes Traveled:
CA: SR-111; SR-78; I-10
AZ: I-10; SR-95

On Wednesday (18th), we checked a couple places for awnings – our awning ripped in the wind while we were at the slabs. But to no avail. We have another place we will check tomorrow.

We also made the usual bead shop stops for some supplies I needed. Since it is the end of the season, prices are a lot lower but they are also out of a number of items. We also found a sunshade for our awning – only $15.00 (it was $80.00 a few weeks ago). Many of the places have shut down or are starting to and are slashing prices – something for us to remember next year.

We spent the afternoon just hanging out and then built ourselves a campfire – how wonderful to have baked potatoes and steak over the fire. This is the first time in quite a while that Andy and I have been on our own.

This has been such a different trip for us. We have met many people that we are sure we will see again next season and some we continue to stay in contact with by email. How nice!

Some scenes from our site:

I will leave you with one more interesting picture – another use for a snow plow (yes, they are plowing sand!):

Until tomorrow!